Traffic Deaths Disproportionately Impact Communities of Color

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Aug 25, 2021 in Firm News

A recent report from The Washington Post shows that Black people and people of color die at a rate of almost 25% higher than white people in traffic crashes on United States roadways. The article also states that the disparity worsened during the coronavirus pandemic, despite nationwide stay-at-home orders. The article also noted that pedestrians of color die at a rate twice as high as white pedestrians. 

However, it is not just Black people who are dying from traffic accidents at a higher rate, despite only making up a small percentage of the American population. The Washington Post also reports that American Indians and Alaska Natives die at twice the rate of Black residents. This statistic is troubling because both groups combined only make up 1.3% of the United States population. 

Why Do People of Color Die in Traffic Accidents More Often than Others? 

The reason behind the spike in the deaths of people of color is undetermined, but researchers believe it is because communities of color tend to be crisscrossed by more dangerous roads. Additionally, people of color were more likely to work in “essential” jobs without the option to work remotely. Furthermore, most essential employment was hourly based, meaning that employees may lose pay for being late. During a time of economic uncertainty, the pressure of being late and possibly losing your job results in people making difficult decisions on the road. 

Destiny Thomas, an urban planner and founder of the California-based Thrivance Group, believes that there is a second cause of the disparity: lack of infrastructure. Thomas elaborated that the government agencies across the country have been underinvesting in Black communities. With lack of lights, traffic signals, fewer crossing opportunities, and uneven pavement make a perfect storm for an increase in Black fatalities. 

What Is the Government Doing to Combat Traffic Deaths in Black Communities? 

Under the Biden Administration, the Transportation Department made promoting racial equity a top priority. The administration is pushing a $20 billion traffic safety proposal to reduce crashes and road deaths as part of its infrastructure plan. Additionally, transportation funding bills in Congress might emphasize “complete streets,” which aim to make streets across the nation safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

A little closer to home, Portland is working to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on the streets through the Vision Zero initiative. To achieve their goal, Portland is focusing on a few key initiatives: 

  • Reducing and enforcing speed limits
  • Educating drivers about the importance of speed limits
  • Improving crosswalks 
  • Prioritizing street lighting 
  • Improving sidewalks 

Ultimately, investing in infrastructure and making the necessary improvements is the most straightforward way to decrease traffic fatalities. 

Contact Rizk Law Injury Attorneys Today 

Despite best efforts, accidents still happen. If you or someone you know was hit by a negligent driver in Portland and sustained injuries or died, do not hesitate to contact the injury attorneys at Rizk Law. This is an overwhelming and stressful time. You can be confident that we will treat you with respect and compassion while navigating through your claim. 

Our skilled attorneys handle various personal injury claims in Portland, including car accidents and pedestrian accidents. When you partner with Rizk Law attorneys, we handle all day-to-day aspects of your claim, including interviewing witnesses, negotiating outstanding medical bills, negotiating settlements, and litigating your case if necessary. At Rizk Law, we are advocates for disempowered populations. Call (503) 245-5677 or complete our online contact form